Thailand: Exports to grow 8% on value-added items

The value of Thai food exports is projected to grow by 8% this year to reach US$26 billion thanks to more value-added food items and higher global demand.
Malee Choklumlerd, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said Thailand shipped about $24 billion worth of food last year, or about 840 billion baht, which made it the biggest food exporter in Asean and 12th in the world. Strong exports of rice, processed chicken meat, canned seafood products, semi-cooked and frozen shrimp and seasoning items contributed to the growth in 2016. The department expects the export of these products will continue to expand this year.
Ms Malee said the government has an ambitious plan to develop Thailand as the world’s centre for food research and development as well as food innovations to shift towards selling more innovation and higher-value food abroad. She said the popularity of Thailand’s food industry is second to none, noting the success of the Commerce Ministry’s food and beverage fair — Thaifex-World of Food Asia — a venue for local and foreign food producers to meet with buyers.
This year the fair has received a positive response, with food manufacturers and merchandisers from 40 countries planning to showcase their products at 2,000 booths, up from 900 booths last year. Among them are 700 Thai companies, of which 520 are small and medium-sized enterprises.
Ms Malee said the fair, to run from May 31 to June 2 this year at Challenger Hall of Impact Muang Thong Thani, is expected to generate about 10 billion baht in trade, up from 9 billion last year. Kitsana Vachekrilas, deputy secretary–general of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said despite the increase in food exports, a number of Thai food companies still face difficulties in creating food innovations, and this has affected the value of export products.
Mathias Kuepper, managing director of Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, the organiser of the fair, said Thailand is the gateway for exports and imports from around the world to access countries in Southeast Asia. “This is a great chance for Thai exhibitors to showcase their food products and learn how to develop their goods to meet international standards, allowing Thailand to eventually become ‘Kitchen of the World’ as the government dubs its long-range strategy,” said Mr Kuepper.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1216157/exports-to-grow-8-on-value-added-items